Whether you are a new nursing mom or you have been doing this for months, finding the right breastfeeding positions needs practice. Moms should keep in mind that there is more than one right way to breastfeed. A good arrangement makes it easier. These breastfeeding positions give you plenty of variety as you get started, and once your baby gets older.
Best Breastfeeding Positions for Babies of All Ages
In this article:
- How to Position for Breastfeeding
- Cradle Hold
- Cross-Cradle Hold
- Football Hold
- Side-Lying Position
- Reclining Position
- Koala Hold
- Breastfeeding While Standing
How to Position for Breastfeeding
All approaches to breastfeeding are a little different. However, the basics are the same. For each position you try, pay attention to your comfort. If you have to hunch over to nurse, your back will start to hurt. Feeling pain could affect your let-down reflex, making effective breastfeeding difficult. Instead, make sure that you can sit, lay, or stand comfortably. Line your infant’s nose up to the nipple, and bring your baby to the breast. You may find that you prefer different positions on each side, especially at first.
When you think of the classic position for nursing, the cradle hold may be what you imagine. In the cradle hold, you tuck baby between your torso and your arm. Put a pillow under your child for extra support, especially for smaller or younger infants. You support baby’s neck in the crook of your elbow. Use your other hand to position the breast for a proper latch. Although many people consider this posture the default choice, it may not work for everyone. The cradle hold minimizes baby’s head movement, which can sometimes make it harder to get a good latch.
In comparison to the cradle hold, the cross-cradle position is quite similar. The only major difference is the position of the mother’s arms. To do the cross-cradle hold, you place the opposite hand against baby’s back. Use the hand closest to the breast to position the nipple for latching. Many moms find this stance easier to maintain when nursing on the same side as their dominant hand. This allows them to use the dominant hand for accurate positioning.
Some breastfeeding positions have evocative names easy to remember. The football hold is a good example. Imagine how a person might hold a football next to them, on the side of their body. Using a pillow for support, cradle your child in your arm closest to the breast. Tuck the infant’s legs between your upper arm and body. Take your opposite hand and position the nipple at baby’s nose for an effective latch. Mothers of multiples prefer this position for nursing two babies at once. The football hold also helps to keep baby’s arms from interfering with breastfeeding.
Moms who want to nurse and relax after a long day may love the side-lying option. This position could take some time to master, but it becomes a safe and effective way to nurse baby at night. Clear away excess blankets and pillows, for baby’s safety. Pull sheets tight so they do not get in the way. Lay down on the same side you intend to breastfeed. Place your baby parallel to your body. Use your free hand to position the infant close to the breast, taking care to support their neck. Offer the breast and confirm a good latch.
If you have a strong let-down reflex, a reclining position may be ideal. This stance also helps moms who cannot lay down on their sides to nurse in greater comfort. In the reclining position, moms can use other approaches as they prefer. For example, you might like to recline your body partially and use the cradle hold. Since you can stretch out your body, this position becomes even more useful as baby gets older and longer.
Some babies must breastfeed in an elevated position. Babies who have reflux are more likely to keep down breast milk if they feed while sitting upright. The koala hold offers convenience for moms of these babies, as well as moms on the go. The koala hold is similar to the side-lying position, only both of you sit up. Place your child on your lap, and use either hand to guide the infant’s mouth to the breast. This stance can be easier for mothers of older babies who can sit up. In this position, an older infant can nurse and still be able to look around to some degree.
Breastfeeding While Standing
If you are a mother to multiple children, you do not always have the opportunity to nurse one child while chasing another. Being able to breastfeed while standing or walking is a skill that helps busy moms provide milk for their babies. You do not need to use a baby carrier, but a sling or wrap could make holding the position easier on your arms. Loosen the sling or wrap and shift into the position of your preference. Moms often prefer the cross-cradle hold or koala hold while standing. You may have to practice doing it at home a few times before you feel comfortable nursing and walking in public.
Watch this video from CloudMom for visual instructions of the breastfeeding positions you can do.
However you choose to nurse, identifying good positions for breastfeeding is important. If you are able to breastfeed successfully whenever you try, you are more likely to stick with it longer. You will also help avoid sore nipples, and give your child the amazing benefit of your breast milk.
What are your favorite breastfeeding positions? Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below!